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Posts: 8996 Joined: June 30, 2008 Last Post: December 6, 2013
This is much different than GWB asking for authorization to go to war with Iraq. In fact this is not really "going to war". All the president is asking is for congress to authorize whether or not to order cruise missle strikes against Syrian goevrnment positions. There are no plans for any invasion or intervention. This is a reaction against the Syrian government of Bashir Assad using chemical weapons against his own people.
IMHO, any intervention in Syria is a no win situation for the United States. Failing to intervene when the Syrian government forces clearly have used chemical weapons is tacitly allowing their use by any tyrant who is trying to hold on to power at any price. Yet i do not want for the United States to be supporting the rebel fources in Syria either. The rebel forces seem to be dominated by Islamists and supported by Iran and Al Queida.
If anything the United States should use its power and influence to force both sides to declare a cease fire and work out some sort of negotiated settlement. This is what Bill Clinton did when he brokered the Dayton peace accords in Bosnia in 1995 with the help of UN peacekeepers.
I have an old college friend who is a Christian Arab living in Amman Jordan. He is a retired general in the Jordanian Air Force and was a professor at their military college. He is a PhD in areospace technology and I knew him as an undergraduate student in areospace technology at Kent State back in 1969 and 1970.
He has told me that there are thousands of refugees from Syria that are pouring across the border into Jordan. He also said that the rebel forces are dangerous and strongly anti Christian; that they are persecuting Christians who have lived peacefully in Syria for centuries along side the majority Moslems. He is hoping and praying that somehow President Obama (who is widely respected and admired in the middle east) can work out some peace agreement.
There is an old Irish expression that goes "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know" and I believe that it applies in this situation in Syria. We know Assad and both he and his wife were educated in the United States. He may be a tyrant, but at least he somehow managed to keep a lid on sectarian issues in Syria. We have no idea of what those rebel forces would do should they succeed in unseating Assad and taking over the government of Syria.
The United States made a very big mistake in going into Iraq and unseating Saddam Hussein. Sure he was a viscious tyrant who used chemical weapons against his own people. But he kept a lid on the sectarian issues and allowed the Christian minority to live along side the Moslem majority in peace. But since then, Iraqi Christians have been presecuted and many have been forced to flee Iraq for their lives.
However what I see as more despicable is the right wing's using this request for action against Syria as a means to hand President Obama a stinging defeat. Foreign policy is no place for partisan politics and posturing by mostly ignorant politicians looking for votes. This goes for those on the left as well. Does Dennis Kucinich have the information on Syria that perhaps Sen John McCain has? Does any member of congress have as much intel on the situation that the president or Secretary of State John Kerry has?
I am hardly saying that a president or secretary of state is infallible on matters of foreign policy. GWB proved that a president could be completely wrong or that a president could misuse intelligence on foreign policy. But we must be able to trust that the president and secretary of state will not abuse their knowledge and information to mislead the American people.
We have seen how presidents and cabinet officials have misused foreign intelligence and misled the American people before. That happened with Vietnam and Iraq. LBJ's legacy and presidency was destroyed because he got entangled in Vietnam. Nixon was forced to resign and GWB's legacy will be forever tarnished by the misadventure in Iraq. Somehow I believe that President Obama is aware that misleading the country on Syria would forever damage his legacy as well as his ability to govern for the remainder of his second term.
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